Monday, January 7, 2013

Social Media Just For Writers by Frances Caballo - Review and Giveaway!

We all know that the days of a writer simply writing are pretty much over. Personally, I'm okay with that. But I've always been more outgoing than is technically healthy, and am comfortable enough with technology to play a bit.

I know that not everyone feels that way. The great news about social media is that it can be a great way to be outgoing even when you are sitting at home alone and look like crap. The not so great news is that you might feel intimidated by all the ins and outs, not to mention the plethora of social networking sites - with new ones popping up constantly.

I received a copy of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips For Selling Your Books by Frances Caballo as a review copy. Whether you've got the marketing backing of a Big Six or you're self-pubbed and looking for way to raise awareness of your book, there's a lot of information in here that can help you out.

Facebook: Great step-by-step info here on how to setup and maintain an author or book page. Tips for setting privacy, adding tabs, building traffic and analyzing that data are all here. The one inaccuracy that I found is that the author claims you must have the privacy settings for your personal page the author page is linked to set to public (i.e. - if your private page is marked "Private" only people who are your friends will be able to see your author page). That may have been true at one time, however that is not the case now. I tested this with multiple people who are and who are not listed as friends on my private FB page and everyone could see my public page, regardless of the settings on my private one. There is also a pretty extensive chapter about using Apps on FB that are specifically designed for writers / marketing that is quite helpful, as I find FB Apps rather discombobulating, myself.

Twitter: Oh no! You have to be interesting in 140 characters or less on a regular basis!! Don't worry, it's not that bad. The Twitter chapter explains handles, hashtags, and a helpful Twitter vocabulary lesson, along with some great hashtags just for writers. Again there was an inaccuracy here - the author claimed that when you DM someone on Twitter it will show up in their timeline that they received a DM from you. As far as I'm aware, that's not the case. There's also a *great* chapter here about Twitter apps that will help you organize and make sense of your data - both free and paid.

LinkedIn: I can't speak to the accuracy of the LinkedIn chapter because I don't use it. I'm also not convinced that LinkedIn is a social media must for writers  - but that's just my opinion. If you want to use it, and think it could boost you there's a step-by-step chapter here for you.

Google+: I was really pleased to see G+ included here. I started using G+ actively about a month ago and I like it - a lot. This chapter provides a comparison of how G+ features function in the same way as FB features, and how they're different, along with the step-by-step and vocab to get you started. Unfortunately, G+ very recently added their Communities function, which is not covered here so this chapter is already slightly dated. It does however, give a great rundown of how Circles and Hangouts work in G+ which is probably the platform's most confusing feature.

Pinterest: This chapter walks you through setting up your account, boards and pins. How to re-pin and generally use the site is all covered here. It also includes a great explanation of how to improve your SEO on this platform. However, it completely skips the very real problem of copyright and Pinterest. If you're curious about whether or not your pretty boards might get you sued, you might want to read this.

Blogging: Yes, blogging can be scary. Yes, blogging can be hard. Yes, it takes away from you writing time. OK let's move past that now and focus on the fact that it's also an amazing tool for connecting with your readership. There's a great chapter here that doesn't necessarily give you a step-by-step for setting up a blog on any one platform, but rather walks you through identifying your audience, writing captivating post titles, and tips on where to find good free photos for your blog.

Offline: Finally, there's a great chapter on how to promote yourself... you know, in reality. Tips on bookmarks, business cards, tours and bookstore visits.

Overall, this is a very thorough book. The one large criticism I have is that Tumblr is not covered, and I think it's the growing social media of the moment. However, as I'm a YA author and Tumblr appears to be a "younger set" thing, it's quite possible that I'm wrong in my assessment of it.

In any case, if you think this book sounds like something you might benefit from (ahem, we all can) you're in luck, because I'm giving away my copy! And just to accentuate how important social media is to writers, I'm including all my links in the 'copter. Yes, I'm everywhere :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


LM Preston said...

It seems so hard to keep up with the social media target.

Mindy McGinnis said...

It is! I agree, I think though that this book does a great job of giving you a foothold on the mountain, even if the mountain itself fluctuates.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a helpful book. Pretty much the only one I'm really familiar with is blogging but I've learned a lot by visiting blogs and chatting with other writers. Once I release my book, though, I know I'll have to do a lot more!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Jenna - yes, having a presence is important. I don't think you necessarily need to do *all* these things though. Do what you're comfortable with, and be wary of spreading yourself thin. It doesn't hurt to try a few different platforms, see what works for you, and stick with it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour. Sounds like it is an essential read for any author!

Darryl Tay said...

I am happy to share that Linkedln also offers a few interesting features that are particularly useful to writers. Use the sidebar widget, which allows you to connect with your online visitors. Some other tools that you may use are the blog tool, the InMail (for prospecting clients and sending them your pitch), and the editor connections. The latter helps you reconnect and catch-up with your former editors.

Darryl Tay

jonny jones said...

It is very hard keeping many different accounts on various types of social media. I can't imagine the celebrities and how many people they hire to keep track.

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